Franetović Kušelj, Đive | flute

Date created: 22.08.2022.
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Dubrovnik flautist Đive Franetović Kušelj (Dubrovnik, 1979) received her first music lessons from Professor Jakov Kakarigi at the Luka Sorkočević Art School in Dubrovnik. After graduating from Dubrovnik Grammar School and Luka Sorkočević Art School, she studied at the Zagreb Academy of Music, where she earned her BA and MA degrees under Marina Novak. During her studies, in 2000, she successfully auditioned and toured Provence with the Mediterranean Youth Orchestra Marseille. In 2002 she participated in Audi Mozart International Competition in Italy, where she entered the finals and performed as soloist with the Haydn di Bolzano e Trento Orchestra at the Teatro Zandonai. After that she won the prize for best interpretation of W. A. Mozart among 170 contestants in the IBLA Grand Prize International Competition in Ragusa, Sicily.

The success at the competition in Sicily enabled her to perform at Carnegie Hall, where she gave a solo concert in 2003, on her 24th birthday. The same year, American flautist Suzanne Lord invited her to present the music of Croatian composers at universities in Florida, Illinois and Georgia. Franetović Kušelj has proudly promoted Croatia's numerous composers. She has also appeared at the American National Flute Association Convention in San Diego.

Inspired by her tone colour, the renowned Italian composer and pianist Marcello Abbado wrote his Concerto for flute and orchestra for her, which she premiered with the Sanremo Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Vakhtang Jordania in 2004. In 2009 she appeared at the Teatro dal Verme in Milan with I Pomeriggi Musicali Orchestra led by Vittorio Parisi, in a concert dedicated to Marcello Abbado concert, and shortly after performed with the same orchestra conducted by Enrico Dindo. She performed the Sinfonietta for flute, piano and strings with the Greek pianist Dino Mastroyiannis at a concert in honour of the famous Mikis Theodorakis at the 2013 Evmelia International Festival in Volos, Greece, and with the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra conducted by Nicholas Milton, which was the first Croatian performance of the piece. In 2005 she had the honour of appearing alongside renowned artists Julian Rachlin, Mischa Mayski, Ernst Ottensamer and others, with Sir Roger Moore as narrator, at the Julian Rachlin and Friends Festival at the Rector’s Palace in Dubrovnik.

She was principal flute with the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra on the tour of the USA, and regularly appears as a soloist with the DSO. She is a dedicated chamber musician performing with numerous Croatian and international musicians at numerous festivals. She is a member of the Sorkočević Quartet and Dubrovnik Chamber Trio; she promotes contemporary Dubrovnik composers within the Sorgo Music Workshop.

Since 2002 she has served as a flute and chamber music professor at the Luka Sorkočević Art School; in 2014 she earned the title of a mentor, and in 2019 of a counsellor. Her students appear in numerous concerts and competitions in Croatia and internationally; in 2015 and 2018 she received the Knowledge Oscar, awarded the Croatian Ministry of Science and Education for excellent results in working with students. In 2019 she received the Award for Outstanding Achievements from the Dubrovnik-Neretva County. Since 2021 she has served as artistic director of the Konavle Art Association, and in 2022 her ensemble, the Sorkočević Quartet, received the City of Dubrovnik Award for Outstanding Achievements in music and promotion of Dubrovnik and Croatian culture in Croatia and abroad.